Filed under: Auctions
The rare U.S. nickel above has quite the interesting story. The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known of that specific date and design. The coin, which was owned by King Farouk of Egypt was seen by viewers in an episode of 'Hawaii Five-O,' entitled 'The $100,000 Nickel' in 1973. In 1978 Los Angeles Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, paid $200,000 for the coin and it has changed hands several times since then, jumping in value each time.
The nickel will be auctioned off by Heritage Auctions at a coin collectors event in Orlando, Florida on January 6, 2010. It is expected to sell for $3 million or more. The coin is rare because while the U.S. Mint struck tens of millions of Liberty Head nickels from 1883 through 1912, it switched designs in 1913 to depict a Native American on the "head's" side and a bison on the "tail's" side. But five nickels with the new date, 1913, but the old Liberty design were secretly made at the Philadelphia Mint and eventually sold to collectors. One of the coins is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; another belongs to the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the three others, including the coin in the January auction, are privately owned by collections.
UPDATE: This coin sold for $3,737,500 at auction. The winning bid is according to Heritage Auctions "a very advanced East Coast coin collector" who had wanted this rare piece to round out his collection.